10 Things I learned at Tuesday night’s DOT 4th Avenue Bike Lane Planning Workshop

credit: DOT, nyc.gov

Other than the unsurprising realization that I really don’t know much about city planning and traffic management, here are some interesting take-aways from the workshop on Brooklyn’s latest proposed bike lane.

  1. 4th Ave used to be 6 lanes. They had to present plans to the CB twice to get the 4 lane design approved.
  2. Bike lane position: In the latest proposed design (above, bottom), protected bike lanes will be next to the sidewalks, like 1st and 2nd Aves in Manhattan, and Jay Street in Brooklyn. Why no Christie style bike lane along the center? Too many intersections where cars make left turns, apparently (and they won’t be adding any left turn lights). The center layout also makes the pedestrian crossing distance longer.
  3. The DOT talks about the Jay Street bike lane like it’s a success. I don’t get it.
  4. Pedestrian crossing time needs to be considered in the design. If it’s a very long distance, a wide median is needed for pedestrians to wait in for the next light if they’re unable to cross in one cycle.
  5. You can’t grow large plants on avenue medians with subways underneath (Houston St, 4th Ave in Brooklyn). So for this design, they’re adding planters for lots of smaller plants to help beautify the avenue.
  6. With this update to 4th Avenue, they’re not considering any changes to the light patterns. I find this problematic, as it continues the deadly design where pedestrians (and bikes, too, since they’re to the right of the traffic) are constantly battling turning cars and trucks.
  7. They won’t be considering any “barn dance” type pedestrian signals. Apparently 4th Avenue has too much (more than Tokyo?) traffic to make time for this.
  8. There’s a lot of support for short-term car parking for shopping and people drop-off, rather than just commercial short term loading. I think this is good, and will cut down on double-parking.
  9. This project will take 2–3 years of construction. That’s after final designs and bids are finalized.
  10. There are a lot of really well-informed people in this city who care about their neighborhoods, and it’s important to have a variety of viewpoints represented in your active and vocal stakeholders. (I’d like to think I knew this before, but it was a good experience to share a conversation with people who have different concerns than I do.)

Product management consultant, helping founders get ideas built. Lover of efficiency, dogs, bikes, plants, cooking, nachos and feminism.

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